To begin the process of getting a new phone system there are two important questions you need to ask. Who will install it and what type of equipment will you need. Every time I speak to a customer about a new phone system they tell me that the phone system is the lifeblood of the business and when the phones do not work they are out of business. This is why it is important to not only choose the correct hardware but also the company that is going to install the hardware and make it work for you.
Who should install your new phone system?
When choosing the company to install your new phone system; look for someone who has been in business for several years and has a good track record, then ask for references. Ask if their technicians are certified on the products they sell and install. Ask about their response time for normal service and the response time if the system is down. Assure yourself that they will be there when you need them.
What type of equipment will you need?
Any system you invest in today should be capable of supporting VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) as well as traditional POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service) lines. Think about what you want your new phone system to do for you. Do you want voice mail; do all employees need voice mail? Would voice mail to email conversion be useful? This feature sends your voice mails to your email giving you one place to check your messages. How about fax to email? Will you answer the phone calls or will an Auto Attendant answer and distribute the calls for you? Do you have off premise employees who could benefit from being an extension on your phone system, such as work from home, traveling sales or other workers? Do you have a remote warehouse that needs a phone or two? How about extension calling and call transfer between offices? This can improve customer service and cut down on long distance cost. Wireless phones can be a good solution for users who must move about you facility to perform their job. They can carry their phone with them and are never be out of touch. Have you thought about CTI (Computer Telephony Integration), this might be automatically opening a customer contact record in outlook or other contact management program based on caller ID? A PC based operator console and call accounting are also examples of CTI. Another consideration is growth, how much do you except to grow over the next 3 to 4 years? The last thing you want to do is buy a new phone system and in a few years out grow it. Also consider the manufacture, have you heard of them and will they be there if you need parts for expansion or repair? What is the warranty the manufacture offers?
What to do next.
Look at your business and assess what features you need and want, then do your research. To help with this process download a copy of our “new phone system” check list. This will help you compile the information you will need to make an informed decision about what type of phone system will best suite your needs.
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